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Ascète > Les causses s'en gaussent > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Ascète - Les causses s'en gaussent

Good but not great melodic mediaeval folk / raw BM - 67%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, October 9th, 2019

Hailing from Sarlat-la-Canéda in southwestern France, Ascète is a "mediaeval" black metal act whose lyrical subject matter focuses on the culture and traditions of the area where main-man Torve lives. So far the act's releases (including a split) have been short and this latest "Les Causses s'en gaussent" is a self-released promotional cassette in a very limited edition of 24 copies. Ascète's style of music is melodic old school BM featuring loads of blast-beat aggression and screechy-shouty rasping vocals with the occasional flourish of acoustic folk music and guest female vocals from La Flamejanta. The first track (also the title track) goes hell-4-leather crazy with blast-beat percussion fury and deranged guitars from Patrie Moine, punctuated in parts with gentle folk and female singing. Interlude track "Combes Nègres " gives listeners a slight breather with gentle rhythmic beats and slightly Spanish flamenco-sounding guitars before the band launches straight into more wild careening guitars and drumming. The third track reveals some slower, almost post-BM music with a melancholy bent and some solo lead-guitar string-bending in parts. Though there are plenty of moments where the raspy singing and the rough-n-tumble BM stop and allow some gentle folk guitar melodies, they are usually very brief and listeners get thrown back into the maelstrom all too soon.

On the whole the music is put together well though all that ducking into and out of the short acoustic passages with the female vocals might irritate listeners who end up wishing just one song completely devoted to quiet meditative acoustic folk and gentle flamenco guitar trilling was present and the rest of the album dedicated to all-out deranged BM attack without the interruptions. There is some good solo guitar work and the band has a good lead guitar sound. Ascète really need to have a much more distinctive style of BM, one that incorporates more fully the musical traditions of the region where the band is based, as the music tends to sound generic for most of its playing time. Having had short releases and (as yet) no albums probably doesn't help the band either: is the band's concept enough to support a full-length album or would an album quickly run out of puff after a couple of tracks and end up being mostly filler? I'd like to think there's more that Ascète can offer than just being an old school BM act with a "mediaeval" culture gimmick.